Tool Tips: Portrait Professional

Stephen Yagielowicz
For photographers, designers and others involved with prepping images of models for publication, either online or off, one of the biggest challenges is to enhance the model's beauty while mitigating his or her flaws.

This was traditionally the job of the airbrush artist and is now solidly the realm of the Photoshop masters — but a revolutionary software package is trying to change all that by bringing professional results to amateur editors. It's called Portrait Professional, and it may change the way you handle images.

According to the company, Portrait Professional is an intelligent, portrait-airbrushing software that has been "trained" in human beauty, letting users improve photos instantly just by moving sliders on its graphical user interface — substantially more user-friendly than Photoshop — especially for "non-professional" retouching artists.

Portrait Professional makes it easy and fast to subtly reshape any aspect of the face to make it more attractive; to fix skin blemishes such as spots or pimples; to reduce and/or remove wrinkles; to remove grease, sweat or unsightly shine highlights from the skin; to adjust the lighting on the face to make it more flattering; to remove red eye; to whiten teeth and eyes; to smooth, recolor and thicken the hair; to control the shape of the eyes and mouth; to change the eye color of the subject and much more — all with no artistic ability required, due to the built-in intelligence in the image-editing software.

To power its automatic touch-up features, Portrait Professional uses an artificial-intelligence engine that according to its website was shown "hundreds of photographs of beautiful human faces, and using sophisticated statistical techniques, it has learnt how to subtly airbrush and touch-up photographs to make them more beautiful."

"All you have to do is choose how much to enhance the lighting, the skin texture and even how many wrinkles to remove," the company website said. "You can even subtly re-sculpt the face to make your subject look as good as possible by just moving a few sliders. Portrait Professional touches up and enhances people in the same way that good lighting and perfect makeup is used to make someone look more attractive. The software really can make anyone look as good as a celebrity in a magazine."

According to its makers, many users will see better results with Portrait Professional than they will with Photoshop.

"It is true that most of these improvements can be made using traditional photo editing software such as Photoshop, [but] even experienced Photoshop users have been impressed at the speed with which they can get a totally natural-looking airbrushed touch-up just by moving sliders. And less skilled Photoshop users would quite simply be unable to get as good a photo touch-up however many hours they spent."